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Live updates: MDH reports 6,663 COVID-19 cases, 419 deaths

Here are the latest developments on the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Sunday, May 3

  • MDH reports positive cases at 6,663 and deaths at 419 
  • Wisconsin's Dept. of Health reports 7,964 with 339 deaths

2:30 p.m.

The Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (WDHS) has reported positive cases in the state have risen to 7,964. 

Officials say 339 people have died from the coronavirus in the state.

 The WDHS says 1,608 people have been hospitalized with the virus, which 20% of all positive cases.  

Milwaukee County has the most cases at 3,244 followed by Brown County at 1,358.

Milwaukee County also accounts for the most deaths at 151, followed by Dane County at 22.

More data is available on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services's website.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said there was 435 new COVID-19 cases, which would bring the state's total to 6,663 cases. MDH reports another 24 COVID-19 deaths, for a new statewide total of 419.

A total of 1,159 COVID-19 cases have been hospitalized in Minnesota to date. 

Currently, 373 people are hospitalized, which is 16 fewer people than yesterday.

There is 155 people in intensive care, which is 20 more people than Saturday.

Health officials say 3,015 people are off isolation which is 618 more people than yesterday.

Hennepin County has the most cases in the state by far at 2,151. Nobles County has 940 cases and Stearns County has 589 cases.

At this point in the pandemic, approximately 82,632 Minnesotans have been tested by MDH or an outside lab.

Saturday, May 2

  • Wisconsin's Dept. of Health reports 7,660 cases, with 334 deaths
  • MDH reports positive cases have risen to 6,228, deaths to 395

2:45 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (WDHS) has reported positive cases in the state have risen to 7,660, with deaths having risen to 334.

WDHS reports 1,591 individuals have been hospitalized with the virus, nearly 21% of all positive cases.  

Milwaukee County has the most cases at 3,147, followed by Brown County at 1,272, Kenosha County at 521 and Dane County at 433.  

Milwaukee County also accounts for the most deaths at 191, followed by Dane County at 22, Waukesha County at 20, 13 in Kenosha County and 13 in Racine County.

18% of confirmed cases are between the ages of 50-59, 17% between 40-49 and 16% between 30-39.  

A gender breakdown shows that positive cases are evenly split at 50% each for both men and women. However, men currently account for 60% of all reported deaths.

As of May 2, WDHS reports it has an approximate daily testing capacity of 11,347, with 51 active labs performing tests across the state. 

More data is available on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services's website.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced the confirmation of 498 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the state's total to 6,228 cases. MDH reports another 24 COVID-19 deaths, 21 of which occurred in long-term care facilities, for a new statewide total of 395.

A total of 1,159 COVID-19 cases have been hospitalized in Minnesota to date. Currently 389 cases are hospitalized, with 135 in intensive care

At this point in the pandemic, approximately 79,007 Minnesotans have been tested by MDH or an outside lab.

The median age of all confirmed cases is 48 years old, and the median age of people who have died is 83.

Hennepin County has the most cases in the state by far at 1,980, with 259 deaths. Nobles County has 899 cases and one death. Stearns County has 531 cases, and Ramsey County has 453 cases and 31 deaths.

Friday, May 1

  • Stay at Home extended until May 18
  • Retailers get green light for "soft" opening
  • Malcolm: Social distancing and wearing masks in public to stay in place
  • Testing numbers, cases on the rise

2 p.m.

The high volume of new COVID-19 cases announced Friday came due to a large increase in testing across the state, according to Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

Malcolm addressed the state's attempt to ramp up coronavirus testing over the next few weeks on the daily MDH briefing call Friday. Labs across Minnesota conducted 4,553 tests in the most recent 24-hour period, the highest number yet.

She said that the state is working to increase its store of testing supplies, in order to meet its goals of 20,000 diagnostic tests and 15,000 antibody tests per day.

Malcolm also took time Friday to discuss the large percentage of deaths that have occurred in Minnesota's long-term care facilities.

Among people who are 80 years old and older, the death rate for those who test positive in long-term care facilities is 34%. The death rate for the same age group outside of long-term care facilities is 18%.

Malcolm pointed out that the data reflects that the health condition of those in long-term care facilities is generally more fragile than those who are still living independently or with family.

"We continue to feel ... the majority of facilities, whether they're nursing homes or assisted living, have done an excellent job of preparing and preventing, and there are not cases in every facility," she said. "These facilities, their staff are working so hard, their administrators are working so hard to keep their environment safe."

Malcolm said many facilities are successfully managing to prevent the spread, pointing to those facilities that have only one or two cases.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said there are 21 long-term care facilities in Minnesota with more than 20 cases. Of the 244 facilities currently affected by COVID-19, 99 have just one case and 36 have two cases.

As of April 30, 672 people ages 80 and up had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 206 of those people had died, for an overall 30.7% death rate for that age group.

Malcolm said she wants families of people in long-term care to remember that moving people out of facilities can be "dangerous and disruptive as well."

"It's not necessarily the setting that is the difference" in the death rates, Ehresmann said. "There's probably a reason that families have not been able to care for their loved one at home," she added, and that's because the person likely needs special care that they can only get at a facility.

"It's not a short-term situation. It's not, 'Well, if we could just take mom or dad home for the weekend that would make a difference,'" she said. "This is months and months."

The briefing Friday came just a day after Gov. Tim Walz announced an extension of the Stay at Home order until May 18.

Malcolm said that one of the reasons for that extension is the rate at which case numbers and deaths are still going up.

"We are seeing the cases increase rapidly," Malcolm said. She said MDH is "sobered" by how fast the virus is spreading in some communities. Even federal guidance, she said, indicates that reopening should not happen until a state has seen 14 days of declining numbers.

The research model created by MDH and the University of Minnesota is just one of the factors Walz is using to make decisions about restrictions on business and social gathering.

Malcolm said that model has been put out for peer review, and after that feedback comes in, she expects the model to be re-run sometime in the middle of next week using some of the state's updated data. "Certainly we will make that publicly available on the COVID-19 website," Malcolm said.

RELATED: Several small businesses say changes to stay-at-home order don't help them

RELATED: Live updates: Walz extends Stay at Home order to May 18, loosens restrictions for retail

Ehresmann reiterated Friday that even though testing is ramping up and more cases are being identified, there is still coronavirus spread beyond what's being confirmed in a lab.

MDH is "becoming more challenged" in tracing contacts of those who have tested positive, with the increasing volume. The department's statistics show that the cause of transmission is unknown or missing for 34% of cases.

Malcolm added that MDH may have to think about "augmenting" its traditional approach to testing and tracing those contacts of confirmed cases, not only by adding staff, but also by taking a different approach.

11 a.m.

The numbers of tests and positive cases released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) continue to rise as the capacity to test increases across the state. 

On Friday MDH reported that 4,553 tests were given over the past day, and 594 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed. Both are new one-day highs, but state health officials say that is to be expected with the emphasis on testing more Minnesotans. MDH says 953 of those testing positive are health care workers.

The virus continues to claim more lives as well. MDH reports 28 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities since the pandemic began to 371. Those ages 70 and older account for 82% of Minnesota's deaths, while residents between 60 and 69 are 12% of the fatalities. 

As of Friday 369 patients are hospitalized with the virus, with 118 showing symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. A total of 1,096 people have required hospitalization since MDH began compiling statistics in late January. 

On a positive note, 2,282 people who tested positive have recovered to the point they no longer need isolation. 

Congregate living or long-term care settings continue to be a major source of COVID-19 transmission, accounting for 23% of cases. Community exposure with no known source accounts for 15% of those testing positive, while community exposure with a known source is linked to 14% of Minnesota's coronavirus cases. There is no known transmission source for 34% of those testing positive.

RELATED: 1 million recovered worldwide from COVID-19

Thursday, April 30

2 p.m.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has extended the state's Stay at Home order until May 18, with some loosened restrictions on retail.

The order was previously set to expire May 4. Walz held a news conference Thursday afternoon, beginning by saying, "I think it's time to assess where we’re at."

Retailers are being asked to make a plan outlining how they will reopen while following public health guidelines. They will be allowed to sell their inventory using curbside pickup and delivery beginning on Monday, May 4. The state is recommending that everyone wears masks, including employees and customers.

Bars and restaurants will remain closed for dine-in service until at least May 18.

Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove said they expect this update to allow 30,000 people to go back to work, or approximately 10,000 businesses.

It includes any customer-facing retail establishment in Minnesota that sells, rents, maintains or repairs goods and can reasonably implement social distancing and pickup or delivery. In addition to traditional retail, it includes household goods rentals, maintenance services, repair services and pet grooming. It allows salons and barbershops to open up the retail portions of their businesses.

The state will not be asking businesses to submit their plans for review, but they reserve the right to ask for them. Businesses are asked to do health screenings for employees. Customers are not to be allowed inside the stores. Grove said they "strongly suggest" contactless payment, as well.

More details are available for businesses on the DEED website.

Walz said that there will be no changes at this time for campgrounds or other outdoor facilities that have been closed.

The governor said Thursday that the state has moved to opening about 82% of businesses in some capacity, but said "that is little comfort to the 18% that aren't."

The Stay at Home order was originally put in place on March 27, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and give the state time to ramp up their hospital capacity. On April 8, Walz extended the order until May 4.

At that time, he built in a “mechanism” that allowed businesses to be gradually allowed back to work as they submit plans to show that they can implement public health recommendations like proper hygiene and social distancing. This past Monday, the state estimated 100,000 people went back to work in nonessential manufacturing, industrial and office jobs.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has said that whatever happens with the Stay at Home order, Minnesotans can expect measures like social distancing and wearing masks in public to stay in place.

Wearing masks and not congregating together “will probably continue for some time,” Walz said. He acknowledged Thursday that while the "dial" turns up slowly to allow businesses to get back to work, people will still be asked to social distance and stay home, and distance learning will continue for students. People will be asked to telework if possible "for some time."

Walz said he hopes to revise the ban on elective surgeries in the coming days, and that his office is looking for public input. "The hospitals will be the ones that sign off on this," he said.

Beyond that, the next steps would be opening more customer-facing businesses, and then allowing small family gatherings, Walz said. After that, opening places of worship. Opening high-contact businesses like barber shops and salons would come after that.

“Continue what you’re doing in the social distancing,” Walz urged his audience. “Even if there were not a Stay at Home order … that is the surest way to get beyond this and get things back to the way we want them to be.”

Walz said that the data shows Minnesotans have saved lives and bought critical time by staying home. He said he believes that the COVID-19 peak has been pushed out to the end of May or beginning of June.

"I think today there’s a lot of positives to talk about in Minnesota,” he said, while acknowledging that it is against the backdrop of the highest one-day death toll yet.

The state has built up hospital capacity and finalized a lease on an alternate care site to make sure everyone who needs care can receive it. There are other potential sites identified, as well.

“Should a surge come and the capacity be needed to overflow, we could stand those up in 72 hours," he said. "We proved we could do it, it’s there, and that just adds to our capacity.”

The state is still working to acquire more personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers.

Walz also pointed out the testing strategy his office is working on with the Minnesota Department of Health, Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. The goal is to get to 20,000 diagnostic tests per day and 15,000 antibody tests per day in the coming weeks.

Walz said the state’s objectives moving forward include:

  • Minnesotans living healthy, safe and happy lives
  • Slow spread and slowly build immunity, realizing elimination is impossible
  • Strategically get more Minnesotans back to work
  • Safely and slowly resume in-person contact and other activities

The governor said he's not saying that we'll be "out of it" by May 18. He emphasized that the virus is dictating when restrictions end or loosen.

"We have set parameters, we have set goals, we have turned the dial," he said. "You crank that dial wrong, and it is catastrophic what it can do."

Walz implored Minnesotans Thursday to not just focus on the extended date of May 18.

"Things have changed here, and they've changed for the positive," he said. "Let's grind it out the last few miles of this marathon and get to the other side."

11 a.m. 

State health officials are backing up their commitment to ramp up COVID-19 testing across Minnesota with new numbers that reflect significant increases in both tests and cases.

The Minnesota Department of Health reports 3,532 tests performed and 492 new cases in the last day, the highest number of both since the pandemic began. The state now totals 5,136 people who have tested positive, and 70,276 tests performed in state and private labs.

Men now account for half of the state's coronavirus cases.

MDH also confirms 24 additional deaths across Minnesota in the last day, bringing the total to 343 since the department began compiling statistics in late January. People who were 70 or older make up 83% of those fatalities, most of them in long term or congregate living situations. Those between ages 60 and 69 make up 12% of COVID-19 deaths.

As of Thursday 365 coronavirus patients are being cared for in Minnesota hospitals, with 130 of them in ICU. The total number of people who have required hospitalization for the virus now stands at 1,044.

Health officials say 2,172 people who at one time tested positive for COVID-19 have now recovered sufficiently to no longer require isolation.

Hennepin County reports the most cases of the coronavirus by far, with 1,738 and 225 deaths. Nobles County, a hot spot linked to the now-closed JBS pork processing plant, reports 742 cases with one death. Ramsey County has 374 cases and 26 deaths, Stearns County reports 267 cases, while Olmsted County confirms 265 cases and six fatalities.

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what companies in Minnesota are hiring. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11.

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.